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How to Avoid Greenwashing

Greenwashing-Infographic-e1377048619526

As consciousness has risen when it comes to the health of the environment, businesses have responded en masse by offering more eco-friendly products, services and policies — or at least, they say they have.

Greenwashing is a term used for companies that claim to be — but in reality are not — acting in an environmentally responsible way. It was first used in print by environmentalist Jay Westerveld in 1986 in reference to hotels that encouraged guests to reuse towels to benefit the Earth but that in turn didn't recycle if it didn't save money.

A whopping 95 percent of products are greenwashed. So how can you tell what's real and what's not? Here, TerraChoice Environmental Marketing (now part of UL) offers some tips, along with a handy primer on just what to be on the lookout for:

Greenwashing Infographic

Haley Shapley

Haley Shapley is based in Seattle, where recycling is just as cool as Macklemore, walking in the rain without an umbrella, and eating locally sourced food. She writes for a wide range of national and regional publications, covering everything from sustainability and health to travel and retail.